7 mistakes to avoid on Instagram

Instagram is one of the best social platforms for boutiques and lifestyle brands. You have the opportunity to showcase your products in multiple ways, bring your audience on a journey and connect your personal brand with your customers’ goals and dreams.

There are also a lot of things you can do horribly wrong, and I see these on a daily basis as I engage with brands online. Are you guilty of any of these below?

Seven mistakes your boutique should avoid on Instagram:

1. Forgetting your customers and potential customers

You spent a ton of time taking photos, creating graphics, writing copy and you’re finally hitting that share button on your amazing new post.

Then you disappear. You don’t thank people for their comments, answer questions or nurture the potential sales.

This. This happens too much. I can’t tell you how many times I see this on a daily basis, and it is a huge disadvantage to your personal brand.  The biggest thing that will make you stand out from a sea of everyone else doing the same thing is your personality. You would never ignore an in-person customer, so don’t ignore people online either!

Related: 26 Facebook & Instagram video ideas for boutiques

2. Not engaging outside of your posts

The key to building your audience is authentically engaging with new people daily. Spend a few minutes in your feed, then a few minutes in your ideal customer’s favorite hashtags. Using a hashtag strategy will help you gain new followers – but it is all about doing that strategically!

Want to know more? I share more tips when you sign up for my free instagram hashtags guide for boutiques.

3. Posting the same content on all your social media platforms

I am all about repurposing content and do it all the time, but I do not share the same content on the same day (or even with the same photo) on different platforms.

You see, for most of us, our audiences are different on each platform. They are active at different times, and like different things. My created graphics do well on Facebook, but not on Instagram. My selfies do great on Instagram and Facebook, but at different times and days.

So does this mean more work for you? Not if you have a strategic plan in place! I have a content calendar where I keep all my copy, and with a quick copy+paste I can add it to any platform!


4. Auto scheduling in third-party apps

Another big mistake many businesses make is using a third-party app to post. I always post directly in the native app (Facebook, Instagram, etc). However, for Instagram I love to plan my content in a visual way and I personally use and love Planoly.

On both phones and desktop, I’m able to upload my images, add copy (which I prefer writing on a computer anyway) and lay it out. When I’m ready to publish, I push it to Instagram and post directly in the IG app – on my time. It is important to be available and active before & after you post for all that strategic engagement and growth!

5. Writing bad captions

How much thought are you putting into your captions? If you want to take your customer on a journey, you should be thinking twice before publishing a post that screams “I’m just sharing for the sale.” Do you relate? Here’s some examples on how to turn those captions around:

• Take “XYZ top is on sale now!” to “Check out the details on this XYZ top. I personally love this for a fun date night with the hubs – what occasion would you rock this to?”
• Turn “This formal dress is $$ and ready to purchase” to “I tried on this dress and it took me back to that time I spent 4 hours on the dance floor at my friend’s wedding. I may have stopped for some bubbly and a bathroom break, but I legit had a blast. That’s what happens when you spend 50 hours a week doing what you love – dance the night away. This dress is begging to be on the dance floor! Who wants some of that?”
• Edit “Cute top some nice jeans or shorts.” to “Your favorite pair of jeans needs this shirt in its life. And so do you. Only $$ and, hey, I’ll even throw in free shipping if you comment ‘I need this in my life!'”

And yes, I literally copied & pasted the first captions from real boutiques. Don’t be that brand! It isn’t about long captions, it is about thoughtful captions. Write it in your customers’ voice and speak to why they need it.

Because, seriously, who needs to spend more money?? But as Target proves to us all, we want to.

6. Bad hashtags

This is one of my favorites. I have spent years building brands on Instagram and one of the easiest way to make quick adjustments to your strategy is using the correct hashtags. Your hashtags should be specific to your customers and potential customers – where are they hanging out?

Another important key is to pick hashtags with less than 900K posts – if it has any more, your posts will be buried instantly. That equals to no one seeing your post, which means less eyes and engagement and even sales.

I’ve thrown together a list of 113 Instagram Hashtags specifically for boutiques in a variety of themes, and all with less than 900K at the time I put it together. It is free for you! #winning

And, last but not least…

7. Not being authentic to YOU or your brand.

My coach always said – “I’m not for everyone. And that’s great!” – and since I’ve adopted this mentality my business has soared. You can’t be all the things to all the people. Find your tribe, and they will stick with you through anything. Which means more sales, more word-of-mouth and more invested followers.

Be true to yourself and share your personal brand often. Finding the perfect balance of personality, serving and sales is imperative to growing and keeping your audience.

So there you have it – 7 mistakes you should avoid on Instagram. What do you think, is there anything new to you? What will you begin implementing today?

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Lisa Alfaro

About Lisa Alfaro

As a seasoned Marketing Communications Consultant, I help women in business engage their target audience through local marketing and social media strategies.

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